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Tuesday Tidbits - Fall Flavors

September 27, 2016
Vincent Van Gogh [Credit: Link]

+ Summer, I'm never letting go!!!
key lime pie by deb

+ The nectarines just keep on comin'
vanilla pavlova with summer berries

+ 'Cos sometimes you need a healthier alternative -  zucchini fries

+ I grew up on those frozen mini pot pies from Stouffers.
I'm glad I can make them myself for El & Lil!
chicken pot pie

+ A bit of caramelization adds a ton of flavor!
seared broccoli & potato soup

+ It's apple season! - glazed apple fritters

+ For when I get bored of a simple roasted fish - salmon four ways

+ or simple, slow-roasted fish

+ I never knew homemade hummus was so easy...
and, even more delicious than store-bought!
genius hummus

+ Time to dust off the oven - homemade sandwich bread

+ 'Cos Asian rice gets boring sometimes - spinach rice

+ Fancy fried chicken - chicken schnitzel

+ Homemade fries are so much better than the frozen ones
crispy potato wedges

+'Cos I need to up my soup repertoire - split pea soup

+ potato leek soup 

+ double dark chicken noodle soup 

+ 'Cos homemade granola is the bomb!
brown butter pecan granola

+ A seriously fancy pancake - apple dutch baby 

+ and, baby dutch babies

+ Just the sound of this makes my mouth water - Austrialian chicken salt 

+ There's no Chick-fil-A in the Alps, so this will have to do -
homemade Chick-fil-A sauce 

+ A seriously fruity clafoutis - cardamon and stone fruit clafoutis

+ A Fall challenge for myself - homemade ramen 

+ This is a seriously good cookie - world peace cookies by Dori Greenspan

+ Keeping the oven going - baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip)

+ Show up at your next dinner party with these - almond thumbprint cookies 

+ Some really good tips from Marcella Hazan

+ A lovely base cake for a good fruity compote and whipped cream - Louisa's Cake

+ Damn! This chicken sandwich!

+ Damn, to this one too! Fake Shake Shack Burger

+ In lieu of blueberry muffins, I think it's time to try this Blueberry Boy Bait.

+ Classics. Period.  Best cookbook recipes ever.

+ A collection of vinagrette recipes to up your salad game

+ April Bloomfield's eat-it-on-everything salad dressing

+ NYC street meat comes to the Alps

+ Whoa.  Little Debbie was my best friend growing up.  Now I can
make some Star Crunch at home!

+ Stumped in the kitchen? Check out these recipe collections
to give you an inspirational kick in the pants!

+ Remember Cheez-its?

+ Time to pull out your KitchenAid mixer for these recipes! 

+ 10 Roast Chicken Ideas

+ Mini Tarte Tatins! 

Nuremberg Toy Museum

September 26, 2016

Miniature Doll House (through a Magnifying Glass)

This past weekend, we drove to Nuremberg, Germany, to visit a friend who was in town for business.  We immediately hit the center of town for the Altstadtfest - a market showcasing foods, crafts, sweets, and entertainment.  Afterwards, we wandered around town... peeked into a few churches and shops... hiked up to the Nuremberg Castle... and then made our way over to the famous toy museum.  (El & Lil were way more excited (and willing!) to continue walking for this destination!)

Also known as the Lydia Bayer Museum, Nuremberg's Toy Museum holds a collection of 87,000 toy objects that span from antiquity to modern times (with a focus primarily on the last two centuries).  Since its opening in 1971, this museum attracts four million visitors a year!  And, only 5% of the total toy objects in the collection are on view.  The remaining can be found via their virtual collection (in German only). 

A few early toys from Greek Antiquity

It was cool to see some of the earliest toys from Antiquity in the museum's collection.  It's clear that humans can be creative with whatever materials they have at hand.  All it takes is a child's imagination to bring a form to life!

Wooden Blocks Become a City

We saw this creativity explode with wooden forms and colors.  Shapes evolve from rectilinear to include curves, colors became more exciting, forms became more abstract.

Abstract Wooden Toys

And then, we found a room full of stamped and cutout metal sheets.  The scenes ranged from farms and cattle migrations to war-time troops and encampments.

Cutout Metal Sheet Toys

Matchbox Toys

Tons of planes, trains, and automobiles... metal working gets pretty serious now.

Handmade Tea Settings

Porcelain makers seemed to get into the fun too - by making endless varieties of tea sets and place settings... all of this had to go somewhere...

If you are a big fan of miniature toys, then this is a must see for the great condition of each set, the completeness of the set, and the enduring fascination that all of this was made by hand.

A General Store

A Dining Room

A Basket Shop

A Kitchen at Night

Then, lighting was added...

Fully enclosed houses with lighting became popular...

Jumping to the future, my, have things changed!

A Modern Kitchen

Lil Size Doll House

The size and scale of the sets grew over time... The inlaid flooring in the house above was so intricate.  I wonder how long it took to finish the house!

But, there were other toys, too! Bugs, bugs, and more bugs!

Toys to ride on!

Toys to hug...

Early Steif Bear
Toys to play magic tricks...

Toys that go from two dimensions to three using theatrical techniques...

Here, a city scene has the windows cut out and the lights turn on and off to give the illusion of life within the composition.

Sadly, a dark turn in toy history... 

And, a whole section dedicated to the modern toys made from plastic technologies that we are all familiar with... (but, I was more fascinated by the earlier, handmade toys, obviously!)

Hi, Guys!

The tour ends in a room dedicated, not to the toys, but to the children of the past century.  A selection of toys is displayed with a photo of a child either posed next to the toy or playing with the toy.  This is a sweet ending to our visit because it reminds us that it is a child's love and imagination that bring life to these toys... and, that, is the magical thing indeed!

. . .

On the surrounding walls are more photos of children, each with a toy in hand, reminding us of the countless moments of playful magic that have come and gone... maybe, it is also reminding us to continue to cherish and encourage child's play for generations to come!



Nuremberg Toy Museum 
(Museum Lydia Bayer)
Karlstra├če 13-15
90403 Nuremberg

Quilt #7 Rainbow Bright (Ella's 5th Birthday)

September 15, 2016

A few months back, we came upon a sunset rainbow over Lago di Garda... and, boy, what a sight it was!  Ever since moving to this part of the world, the rainbows have been frequent and just tremendous.  Back home in the States, I only remember seeing rainbow arcs... rarely these continuous half circles... or the ones that arc over the entire Inn Valley where we live.  Needless to say, rainbows are celebrities in our house and each one is celebrated with oohs and ahhs.

Now that you know the backstory of our fascination, you will understand the next logical step with a pile of old clothes and scrap fabrics -  all in the colors of the rainbow!


Throw in my other obsession with Gees Bend and improvisational quilting... and you get a fun summer quilt project!



I used strips of solid color fabrics and white sheeting material.  I used white sheeting for the backing also.  Since this was a Summer quilt, I didn't want to use any heavy materials or fluffy batting.

Here we go! I started from the center and worked my way outwards... using a progression of colors from the rainbow spectrum... trying to create a kind of refracted light effect.


With top done, next up was the sandwich of the top, batting, and backing... and then the quilting, yay!

In my mind, I kept with the rainbow feeling and thought maybe a sort of improvisational all over squiggly quilting might create a cloud like effect.

But, 3/4 of the way through it looked like a mess and I pulled all of the threads out.  Hmmph!

Disappointed but still determined, I decided to finish the quilt with knots and call it a day.  I mean, hey, I was already five months late with this quilt for El... know when to fold 'em, right?

So, here is my seventh quilt, 'Rainbow Bright':

A few snapshots from all the birthday fun:

Birthday Pancakes

Birthday Cake

Birthday at Granny & Grandpa's

Fun in Vienna with Dada

To my bright and lovely, Ella!
Here's to another year of adventures and rainbow catching!
Love, Mommy